Greg Kihn Band – Jeopardy
It happened several times in the 80s that a band that had built much of their history around a particular musical genre, perhaps obtaining some success or fame but nothing more, at some point in their career made a song perhaps simpler, more commercial, maybe with a particularly captivating video, and achieved an unstoppable success that made them famous all over the world.
We can say this was also the story of Simple Minds, who were certainly famous and appreciated in the new wave landscape, but who at some point achieved a success they had never seen before with Don’t you (forget about me), a song almost denied by themselves because it was quite far from their classic style. But it was also the story of many other bands and singers.
Of course, it was the story of Greg Kihn and his band. The good Greg, after moving from Baltimore to San Francisco, had formed the Greg Kihn Band in 1976, with bassist Steve Wright and two other elements. It was a rock band, electric guitars and drums in front of everything, at times almost close to metal. And it was a prolific band, as sharp as a clock, with one album a year from 1976 onwards. A band also with a certain sense of humour, who played on their own name to give the titles to their albums, arriving at fantastic titles such as RocKihnRoll, Kihntinued, Kihnspiracy, Kihntagious.
They had also found some success in the world of rock, for example with The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) in 1981, but in 1983 the unpredictable fate of the 80s to manifested itself and changed the rules of the game as always. On the album Kihnspiracy, in fact, they included a song that sounded much less rock than the others. And a little more pop. And definitely funkier, with syncopated sounds and rhythms that seemed to be inspired directly by songs by Nile Rodgers and Chic.
And so, in mid-April 1983, the irresistible climb to the charts of Jeopardy, the biggest success of the Greg Kihn Band, began.
The song was about a love now at risk of breaking up, but without going into great detail. Moreover, Greg Kihn had always been clear in telling everyone not to look for great hidden meanings in his lyrics: he is one who makes rather simple lyrics, perhaps talking about his girlfriend, but in general songs without a particular depth in the text.
This song may have not outstanding lyrics, but as we said it sounded irresistible, and it found itself having a video that entered the story. A video where all the sympathy and irony of Greg and his band came out. Greg is getting ready, in a few minutes the time will come to crown his love dream and marry his girlfriend. All of a sudden, here is the worst of enemies in such a situation: second thoughts. Or, cold feet, as many say. Greg goes into panicked hallucinations: he hears his parents arguing and soon sees them tied up by handcuffs. Other couples are fused together, and slowly all turn out to be monsters and then zombies, of course including the bride.
In short: marriage according to Greg turns out to be something indivisible and eternal, which may seem romantic, but this concept brings with it something lethal and terrible.
And so, back in himself towards the end of the song, Greg thinks again and flees the church. The funny thing is that shortly after, of course, the bride also comes out. When she realizes Greg is waiting in the car, everything becomes clear: Greg is not running away from her, but from the idea of traditional marriage. And so she jumps in the car too and the two of them, sent the wedding to the end, still run away together!
The Greg Kihn Band on Wikipedia